Written and Directed by Tim Robbins
Starring Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman, Ray Wise, Brian Murray, Gore Vidal
Political movies in the US are relatively tame. Usually, they are wrapped in the flag, or move away from the reality into a safe alternate situation. Bob Roberts is nothing of that, and ends up being provocative, frightening, and (hopefully not) prophetic.
Roberts (Tim Robbins) is a right-wing would-be politician, who was both a successful businessman and a singer-songwriter, a conservative Bob Dylan.* He enters the Pennsylvania senate race against liberal Brickley Paste (Gore Vidal) and the movie is a mockumentary following the campaign. Roberts puts forth a clean image, but Bugs Raplin (Giancardo Esposito) starts to sense something is wrong.
Robbins wrote, directed, starred, and wrote the songs for the movie. He comes across as bland, but something about him is too slick, and the character never seems as good as he looks. He also deals with subtle moments; the most chilling portion of the film is a single shot of him tapping his foot.
The movie was well regarded at the time, but has slowly been forgotten.
*The parallel is deliberate. His album titles mimic the titles of Dylan’s early albums.